Aldren A. Watson, Country Furniture, 1974
I glued the back bindings onto the Hernandez y Aguado guitar copy (click here to learn more about that guitar) last Friday afternoon with great success. Then I turned my attention to my studio.
My studio is about 9'x11', space is at a premium, and I was hanging saws, braces and other tools that I use on a regular basis on the wall in a rather un-artistic manner, umm, the tools were hanging on nails. Not that that is a bad thing, just not aesthetic.
Several months ago I bought several bags of small shaker pegs at my local Woodcraft store so I could make better racks. Funny how long it can take me to get around to doing something, like finishing my new cabinet work bench so I can chuck my tool chest onto the trash heap where it belongs and clear more floor space.
Don't these saws look pretty hanging from pegs!
This is such a great way to display my tools, I always feared that one of them would jump off a nail and fall to the floor. Tool suicide. Now I need to make new racks to hang all of my clamps. Yes, there are several tools that still hang on nails, but I have forgiven myself for doing that.
The only electricity used to make these racks was that consumed by the over head lights, the boards were ripped by hand, finished with a Stanley No. 5 jack plane, the holes were drilled by bit and brace.
Now, turn off your computer or other electronic device and get out to the shop and make something!
A beautiful morning to spend a couple of hours dovetailing the upper rails to the legs of the table. Then I began the careful process of erasing all of the pencil marks, chamfering the bottoms of the legs so they don’t splinter and a quick sanding.
Glue up went without a hitch until I tried to insert one of the lower rails upside down. Fortunately the mistake was obvious and quickly rectified. With the clamps In place there was little do do except begin gluing up boards for the top.
Not sure how to finish but I am considering a natural look without stain to match the coffee table a made last year.
Fortunately, I had decided to arrive several days in advance of the WIA conference and stay a few days after, so Kristen and I were able to spend some quality time in old Winston Salem. In fact, the last time I visited Winston Salem and MESDA was in 1978, during one of my several trips to visit East coast museums and historic settlements....
Fortunately, I had decided to arrive several days in advance of the WIA conference and stay a few days after, so Kristen and I were able to spend some quality time in old Winston Salem. In fact, the last time I visited Winston Salem and MESDA was in 1978, during one of my several trips to visit East coast museums and historic settlements. I am sorry it took so long for me to return.
The weather was great, in fact, with only a slight spot of rain and moderate heat. While I was away, on the other hand, San Diego had a heat wave, with several days above 100 degrees. Poor Patrice had to work at the bench, building the top of our Treasure Box (Series 2) while I got to wander around from place to place, thinking perhaps I should have packed a sweater.
Last year, during this time, I was teaching at Marc Adams school, and only had a short time late on Saturday to get away. I broke several speed limits driving from the school to Cincinnati to see the WIA event. As it turned out, I got there about 30 minutes before it closed, with just enough time to get my signed copies of Roubo from Chris. As it turned out, I also had to sign a few copies, since I wrote the Forward. The best part was that I got to have a nice dinner with Roy later that evening.
This year, I was a speaker, and presented two lectures to a rather enthusiastic and supportive audience. The first was a talk on "Historic Marquetry Procedures,"and went through basically 500 years of the traditional methods used to create this art form. The second was "Building and Using a Chevalet." At the start of this lecture, I mentioned that I have been working for nearly 20 years to introduce this unique tool to woodworkers in North America. Then I foolishly asked if anyone in the audience knew about this tool. When nobody raised their hand, a person in the back shouted, "You haven't been very successful!" As they always say in law school, "Never ask a question you don't know the answer to."
I shared the lecture room with Roy Underhill, which is always an experience. As I was setting up my talk, he was putting his things away. They had scheduled a half hour break between speakers. Just about the time I was ready to start, Roy had the brilliant idea to "introduce" me. You probably already know he can be theatrical, to say the least.
He said the first time we met was at the Salton Sea, and there was a stampede of brine shrimp. Tim Webster was sitting in the audience, and had the quick thinking to pull out his camera and video it, posting it on YouTube soon after. I was speechless and had to hold my tongue, while he went on and on, creating a story that was more and more amazing. My mike was turned up to the max and when I did comment it was way too loud. Near the end I asked him to turn down the mike, and he crawled under the screen to adjust the volume. I thought I had a quick wit, but there is no way I can keep up with Roy when he is "on."
Here is the video: Underhill introducing Edwards
While I was having fun in the lecture hall, Kristen was in the Trade Show, where we had a booth for both the ASFM school and OBG. She is a master of working these shows, and I am very grateful for her talent, as I usually lose my voice and patience trying to compete with the noise.
Of course, Roy had to stop by and pick up some glue...
After the show Kristen and I went to MESDA where we had a nice private tour with Daniel Ackerman. We also enjoyed a private home tour by Tom Sears, both of which are members of SAPFM. We had dinner with Jerome Bias, who is the joiner at Old Salem, and then visited him at work, where he demonstrated his Roubo veneer saw.
Across the hall Glen Huey was using the foot power lathe to make some turnings.
All of this activity was in the Brothers House, and it was full of woodworkers from the show, having a great time sharing stories.
I made a promise to myself not to wait another 30 years before returning to Winston Salem.
Here's the story behind the two English field gates we built over the last couple weeks.
Traditionally these gates were used to contain livestock, but they are also quite popular nowadays for containing human livestock and livestock of the horseless (carriage) variety. We're using them to hopefully prevent deer from wandering into a garden.
I first took a serious interest in these types of gates when I stumbled on an article by Paul Sellers in an issue of Woodwork magazine (#116.) The aesthetically pleasing form of the gate, which stems from its engineering caught my eye immediately. I quickly started looking for an opportunity the build one.
I did a fair amount of research while designing the two gates, here's some of the more interesting aspects of what I discovered.
- The gates are traditionally made from air dried oak.
- The harr stile (hinge stile) was usually made from a piece with a natural bend (crook) for the most strength.
- Only the harr stile and the top rail are made from massive timbers. The rest of the gate is made of lighter, thinner stock.
- The top rail tapers in both in width and thickness to reduce weight at the latch stile.
- The joinery is robust: through wedged tenons and drawbored mortise and tenon.
- The hardware is blacksmith made
The gate is superbly engineered to prevent sag. The harr stile, top rail, and angled brace form the rigid structure, and the rest "hangs" from this structure. The top rail diminishes is both thickness and width from hinge to latch to reduce the weight at the area it can do the most damage. The drawbored joints keep everything immobile. I'm a big believer in super rigid construction. Once a joint starts to get even a little loose, there's little keeping it from getting worse.
In addition to the article in Woodwork, we also referred extensively to Alan and Gill Bridgewaters's Building Doors and Gates (Stackpole Books) This book provides loads of design and engineering advice, as well as construction techniques for building these traditional gates (plus many more styles). It even provides info for setting the posts the traditional English way so they will last longer than you and likely your children. It's a fantastic book with solid info on classic techniques. Not your typical weekend warrior "Time-Life" stuff. You can preview the book via Google Books, but if you plan to build a door or gate sometime, buy the book.
So with all that tradition in mind, here's what we did differently.
We used western red cedar instead of oak. We have a small sawmill that will cut oak to order, but we couldn't wait for the wood to get even partially dry. We needed the gates before winter. So we spent a morning at (get ready) Menards and picked through their entire stock of 6x6 western red cedar. We were able to get all the thick stock for the gates (and then some) out of the 6x6 material. All but one stick was dry. I'm guessing they don't move a lot of this stuff, I bet its been sitting there for some time. We resawed the 6x6s to get the final 3"x5" pieces for the hinge stiles and top rail. The 1"x3" rails and angled braces came out of 2x6 material that we ripped and planed down. These came from 16' boards that were 90% clear and straight. When selecting dimensional lumber I always buy the longest, widest boards I can, they are in every instance better quality than the shorter stuff. The grain on some of the stock was so excellent I was tempted to resaw it into soundboards. The dark color is supposedly more rot resistant. All but one board was deeply red. And yes, we did save big money at Menards, paying just over $2 a board foot for the cedar.
We only tapered the top rail in its height. We wanted to keep the latch stile full thickness to speed and simplify construction. I wasn't too worried about the loss in weight savings with the lightweight cedar.
We cut the top of our harr stile off and glued it to the side of the stile to get the crook. We made sure to position the lag screws in the main part of the stile and the not the added portion.
We did through wedged tenons to join the top rail and latch stile. Everywhere else we cut blind drawbored mortise and tenons with straight-grain white oak pegs.
Both gates were assembled with West System epoxy, and we also sealed the end grain at the bottoms of the stiles with the same so they didn't wick up moisture from the snow or rain. West System is the only epoxy we use around here. We like to buy the quart can of resin, pair that with a pint of hardener (we use fast most the time) and finally the pump set, which meters out exactly the correct amount of resin and hardener everytime. It seems expensive, and you do loose some epoxy if all you do are small jobs, but we've found that the added cost usually evens out if you consider the higher cost of buying syringes, which eventually go bad anyway. The West System last for years, and its top quality. It's the stuff boat builders use after all.
We tried to find the best hardware we could find without going broke. We sourced this from Snug Cottage Hardware. They have a great selection specifically designed for heavy gates like this, as well as free plans to build a number of different gate styles. And almost everything is available hot dipped galvanized and black powder coated (that's what we bought.) We've bought the black painted garbage from the big box stores before. It rusts. That's not a problem if you like that look, but we wanted these to stay black and hold up. The carriage bolts that tie all the 1x3's are stainless. We spray painted them black to match the stuff from Snug Cottage. It would have been ideal to connect the hinges via through bolts, but it was impossible with the attachment at the corner of the buildings. We opted for exterior Spax lags, also spray painted black to match. We oriented the hinges so the gates hang on the lags in a shear arrangement, there is only weight on the threads when the gate is open. Overall span of both gates is 122".
The gates are finished with one coat of Sikkens Cetol SRD in natural color. We did a fair amount of research on this. The #1 choice for exterior finish is Epiphanes varnish. We have a friend who did his deck chairs with it several years ago and they still look great. The product is $45 a quart, and requires seven (!) coats. We ruled that out straightway. The Sikkens Cetol 1 and 23 is a two-step finish that is supposed to be extremely UV resistant. It's $85 a gallon, and you must buy a gallon of each. That was also out of our price range. The Cetol SRD gets great reviews, and is $45 a gallon. We were tempted to simply leave the gates unfinished, and they may eventually end up that way, but for $45 we figured we'd give the SRD a shot. It only requires one coat. Needless to say, we were pretty thrilled with how the gates turned out with the finish applied.
Next on the docket, Tony Konovaloff's trestle table from FWW #106. I've wanted to build this piece since the first time I laid eyes on it when I was 20 years old. We may have enough cedar left over to make it.
We shot some video during part of the build. No music, and little editing in this one. We wanted to show the natural pace of work more than anything, and also how sweet the new Glide is for holding big stuff. It's so great to be able to hold massive timbers with only a little flick of the wrist.
We’re in the homestretch with “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! A Novel with Measured Drawings.” Whew!
Today, I’m finishing the final full text edit and talking with the designer, Linda Watts, about the layout of the interior images and measured drawings (Linda, if you’re reading this, call me).
But perhaps most exciting is that I now know what Calvin and Verdie look like…because we’re nearing the finish line on the cover art. The cover I shared a few months ago? We couldn’t get the rights to manipulate the 1930s image – so we started over with a clean slate.
In hindsight, I’m glad; that gave us the freedom to present Calvin exactly as he appeared in Roy’s head (or at least the artist’s interpretation of how Calvin appeared in Roy’s head), and add other elements from the book to truly represent the story. (After all, despite the hoary saying, people often judge a book by its cover – so why not make it as perfect as possible?!)
We’ve been working with Jode Thompson, an illustrator based in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, whose other clients include Tylenol, Coca-Cola and Temptations Cat Treats (three things I buy regularly – how could I resist?).
While searching for an artist, I was looking for someone who could produce a 1930s noir detective novel look (think dark pin-up) with just enough of a graphic element to make it look 21st century. Jode’s work fit the bill in spades. And she nailed the treatment from the get-go, despite my crazy design brief:
So there’s this 1930s government employee who’s the supervisor of a group of women, all of whom are WWI veterans who are in some way disfigured by the war – and they’re all stronger than Calvin. They study manure. And there’s this femme fatal of sorts, Kathryn Dale Harper, with whom Calvin is kinda obsessed. She’s a radio star, and helps Calvin start his own radio show about woodworking. Oh – and Washington, D.C., is a character of sorts, as is Colonial Williamsburg. And Calvin has a shop in the clock tower of the office building where he works. It’s all sort of noir mixed with slapstick, and there’s a motorcycle. And it’s very funny. Calvin looks like Jon Cusack, Kathryn Dale Harper looks like Barbara Stanwyck and Verdie looks like Susan Sarandon (but with a prosthetic leg).
OK – it was more coherent than that.
Anyway, I thought you might like to see the short progression toward the final cover art. At the top of this post is the initial sketch.
After deciding on the first sketch, we wanted something that said “woodworking” and asked Jode to add the Washington Monument so the location was visually clear. So I asked her to add a dovetail saw in Calvin’s hand. Naturally, Jode chose a Veritas saw (she’s Canadian, after all). Nice saw … but not for the 1930s. And anyway, a dovetail saw proved too small. (Also, while I like the boots and helmet on Verdie, it was decided by the two parties involved who notice these sorts of things that high heels would be sexier.)
So Jode sent back a revision with a panel saw modeled after an early Disston model, heels and a title (we’re still mulling over the lettering style, and where to put Roy’s name).
Damn near perfect. At this point, Jode is working on the clothing for both Verdie and Calvin (to make it look a little more 1930s) and I’ll be talking with her soon about the lettering. In the meantime, she added a splash of color.
So in a few more days, we should have the cover illustration completed, the interior layout done, back cover copy written and the whole thing ready for final review. Then it’s off to the printer (casebound, smyth-sewn binding, acid-free paper, printed in the U.S.A., etc. etc.).
It should be WILL be in the Lost Art Press store before Thanksgiving (United States Thanksgiving, not Canadian Thanksgiving – sorry Jode).
— Megan Fitzpatrick
Filed under: Books in the Works, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!
For those of you who missed my blog entries on Pégas blades (here), the bad news is that Tools for Working Wood is temporarily sold out of these outstanding, durable and less-expensive Swiss-made coping-saw blades.
The good news is that Knew Concepts now has 60 packages of the 18-point skip-tooth blades, which they are selling for only $5 per dozen. Go here. I cannot say enough good things about these blades.
Also, ShopWoodworking.com now has the four-volume set of “The Practical Woodworker” in the store in paperback. The set is $65 and will ship in late October or early November. If you missed out on the hardback set, which was excellent, this is your chance to add these books to your library.
“The Practical Woodworker” is a collection of writings from early 20th-century authors on handwork. Just about every aspect of the craft is covered in the four books. Need to build a crate? A chicken coop? Learn French polish? It’s all in there. It’s one of the first places I consult when I’m looking for a technique or plan.
Oh, and the other stuff? “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” goes to the printer on Monday. And Roy Underhill’s “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” is about a week away from the printer. Megan Fitzpatrick, the editor of that book, will post an update on the cover this weekend (right Megan?).
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!, Saws, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
|Model of the Vasa|
Vasa was a largest wooden war ship built in Stockholm in 1628. It was built at the behest of king Gustav II Adolf, who not only happy having a large ship, but wanted the tallest ship as well. The story goes that on August 10th 1628 all the people from Stockholm were given a holiday to see this ship being launched and sail from the shipyard to the main Stockholm harbor.
Needless to say everything went off well at the beginning, until slight wind caught the sails as it left the shipyard and the ship listed to port. The sailors were quick to release the sails, and the ship righted itself. As it progressed further into the channel, the sails caught an even bigger gust. Not by much, but little bit bigger. The ship listed to port again and, because all the gun ports were open, started to take in water. And a lot of it. This further accentuated the list, and more water came in. It is said that within a few minutes the ship sank about 50 meters from the coast. Some 30 odd people died.
And it remained there for over 300 years until salvaged, almost intact in 1961.
This part of the nautical history, though appealing, was not interesting. What happened next was that an inquiry was held, under the chairmanship of the king's cousin, to determine how this could have happened. As usual the contractors blamed the tendering process, the sailors blamed the quality of material and the high command blamed the contractors, the sailors, the tendering process and the quality of materials. Eventually nobody was brought to book for this very visible, very public, and very international catastrophe. Does this remind anyone of a handy political party today that has done a similar whitewash on a very visible, very public and very international debacle?
OK enough of that. Amongst the wreckage they found people's skeletons, some with their clothes still on. They also found large number of tools from carpenters, shipwrights, and other trades. Some of these were found almost intact. The picture on the side is an example of one such tool. It's a smoothing plane. It's a beautiful little tool, little more than about 6 to 9 inches. It was made of a dark wood, looked heavy, and was wonderfully shaped.
|Vasa's Wooden Plane|
By Umaji Chowgule
20 September 2014
A friend send me 3 completly new saws to sharpen. He will take them this afternoon (another story). So this morning I unpacked the saws and de varnished them. Thos. Flinn puts a little cover of varnish on the saws to protect them.
Suprisingly the set wasn't fare to heavy like on the last saws I bought about 4 years ago. Between 0,1 and 0,15 mm per side. Nothing I couldn't live with. So all the saws need is a little touch up of the teeth. Ok, I filed the small William Greaves crosscut, but that was not about the saw.
Das ist kein Testbericht oder so, aber ich möchte meine neuen Erfahrungen mit Thos. Flinn Sägen teilen.
Ein Freund hat mit drei komplett neue Sägen zum Schärfen geschickt. Heute nachmittag holt er sie ab. Also habe ich heute morgen den Lack von den Sägen entfernt, mit dem Thos Flinn die Sägen schützt. Nicht schön, aber effektiv.
Zu meiner Überraschung sind diese Sägen nicht mehr viel zu stark geschränlkt, wie ihre Vorgänger, die ich mir vor ein paar Jahren gekauft habe. Die Schränkung lag im Bereich zwischen 0,1 und 0,15mm pro Seite. Nichts mit dem man nicht leben kann. Alles was die Sägen brauchen ist "einmal durchfeilen".
Ok, eine Säge habe ich auf Absetzbezahnung umgefeilt, aber dafür kann die Säge ja nichts.
I just thought that I would show everyone how I am publishing this blog right now while we are off the grid.
Since we have no electricity on the property we are using a tablet and wireless satellite thing to get onto the internet. Not really sure how that works but it does.
As night falls the kiddos head to bed and we get a few hours of quiet time that consists of planning and working out the next days work. When that is done I sit down to write at a flimsy card table with 1920’s Rayo Kerosene lamp and a tablet that does lot of weird things.
It definitely makes things interesting as the sounds from outside come in, the Rayo Lamp radiates heat on my face, and the tablet randomly does whatever it wants as I type.
Since leaving our home and coming out here I have felt very much at odds with technology. From the get go when we were packing up after selling our house, we started having problems with our modern machines. One truck had electrical problems that caused run issues, while the other had its muffler blow up and leaf spring break.
The day we got here to our homestead, our four wheeler decided that it no longer wanted to run despite having less then 100 hours on it. Our lawn mower would not start to clear a spot for our tent, and when as a back up we tried the year old Echo weed wacker, it failed to run as well.
Soon after that both our laptops died within a day of each other for no apparent reason followed by our small 12vdc to 120vac inverter.
So all that to say that I am struggling with the fact that I question keeping the technology in our life as it seems like the more we loose these things the better off we are for it. It simplifies things while removing some of the stress of an already very stressful situation.
We supposedly have this technology to make life more simple, but what it really does is complicate things and cause stress where it is not needed. It has been freeing in a lot of ways and I am kind of nervous about having a house where these things might creep back in. Granted if we have electricity it will be via solar, and our water will still come from a hand pump well, but living simply in tents on our property has stripped away much of what modern society has imposed on use and it really feels pretty good.
Belongings are startling to loose their importance to me and I do not fear the loss of what I have. That was my biggest fear leaving our old house. I had worked and saved for so long to build the machine shop I had always wanted. For nearly ten months before leaving I stressed out so much about what I was going to do to move and store the equipment that needed fork lifts and semi trailers to move.
Now tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment is sitting in a storage over a thousand miles away and the stress and anxieties associated with this “Stuff” is gone completely. Do I want to have it back and build a shop to put it in and use again? Of course, but if I never see it again…….., well, whatever. That sounds really bizarre to read after writing it, but things are changing for me. My focus if redirecting and my priority’s are changing.
Interesting don’t you think. All that because I was going to post one picture of my blogging set up . I suppose I will do that now.
There you have it. I started this as a short post and got all lost in thought about a simple lifestyle decluttered of stuff and technology. We can build a better future with less and I intend to prove that. Stick with me and lets see where we go from here.
Take care — Dave
I recently have been going through a “scroll” carving phase. When I posted photos of some of the scrolls I have carved on my facebook page, I got a request to carve a violin scroll. I thought – sure, I’ve carved a lot of scrolls in my life – how difficult could it be? Plus I was up for the challenge.
So I went to the internet, and there is an amazing amount of information out there. If you have ever studied violin making, it is an incredibly beautiful art. Everything is designed for beauty, grace, balance, symmetry, and elegance. All this makes an amazing sound, but also a beautiful work of art that requires incredible discipline and accuracy to make.
So I got my piece of wood, cut out the profile on a scroll saw and transferred as many lines as I could from any reference material I could find, and started carving. It was a real brain tease to get a nice sweeping flow to the scroll, and it is carved surprisingly deep.
Then once you get one side that you are happy with, it’s time to carve an exact duplicate on the other side – only in reverse. It’s like carving a ball and claw foot. The first one goes great, then you have to make another to match it. Not so easy…
I was able to video this process, so it should be on my online school soon.
I’m tired. That took more energy than I imagined…
I’ve never seen him drink tea. But perhaps that’s because I’m always drinking beer.
Check it out here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Make a Joint Stool from a Tree
I often wonder about a lady named Ann Lee who moved from Manchester, UK to the USA as a Shaker and started the Shaker movement there in Albany, New York. My visits to the colony sites of these industry leaders of their time have always left me thinking these were not Americans but displaced British woodworkers.
Hear is my repro table build following the telltale patterns left in the wood and joints by the original maker. I learned so much from my mentor born in the 1800s and cannot thank him enough for expanding my vision and knowledge. Imagine some of this work in more modern pieces. Imagine that I came up with a modern design influenced by the Victorian that build this this week. The table’s lightness and strength remind me very much of Shaker pieces i have studied and as I put the tabletop on this evening before I left the shop i felt a gratitude rise inside me for the efforts of former craftsmen who left a legacy of work for us to study.
Today I was immensely glad for the table I bought for £3 that enabled me to see into the past. I was glad for the mahogany and the undulations left in the surface texture that told me of a wooden plane with a cambered iron and a method of marking that looked so neat and orderly. We managed to finish the whole of the video series for woodworkingmasterclasses .com and so that freed me up to focus on the next toolbox filming and of course variations on the theme that will make it a linen box/blanket chest or a toy box too. Watch this space for the toolbox build as I will be giving the detailed details of the build so you can start on yours too.
Of course today is Friday and everyone else will be off this weekend except for me of course. We start building rocking chairs tomorrow so that will be fun. Beyond that all is as always quiet and relaxed so have a nice weekend everyone.
While we stayed in Asheville I called into Asheville Hardware which was a bit of a mix. They are a Festool distributor, a dealer in secondhand tools and machines as well as selling lots of timber. The room downstairs had lots of large end reared boards, this is the way to sell timber. When it's all stacked in piles (that require lots of effort to uncover) it tends to stay that way.
This large stump that would make a great coffee table with a slab of glass on top.
Two huge walnut book matched planks below caught my eye.
There were good areas of figure but at $2,500 per board they were a bit steep.
More planks of nice dry wood.
A very large board of osage orange, very tough and heavy. This was the first time I had seen this wood, it would be great to makes some planes with.
Another book matched pair of figured and coloured maple boards, I'm sure James Krenov would have made good use of these.
To round off my posts on our trip to the US I'll leave you with Barnes and Noble. If you thought the internet had killed off books, then somebody forgot to tell them!
The store was enormous.
They had a well stocked woodworking section, the one English book was by Mark Ripley.
An equally well stocked magazine rack with a better showing for the Brits.
And I'll leave you with this shot which could be viewed two ways, a massive faux pas or a very observant reflection on the American diet.
Nathaniel Gould has long been associated with some of the finest period furniture to come out of Salem, Massachusetts, but we didn’t know how much until recently. In 2007 three of Gould’s account books were discovered locked away in the Massachusetts Historical Society and they showed he was far more prolific than originally thought – the ledgers document over 3000 pieces made between 1758 and 1783. The ledgers have been […]
Time for another quick tip, get out the salsa and guacamole and let’s talk about grain direction. Sometimes it just isn’t clear when you look at the board. I say don’t worry about it and use your fingers instead.
Of course there will always be boards that won’t cooperate and even this tip won’t help, but I think with 90% of the wood we work, your fingers will point you in the right direction.
This Week’s Winner
Congratulations to Evan Stakutis. His name was randomly drawn (my wife did it so blame her if you didn’t win). Evan get to choose an item from my magic woodworking schwag list. I’ll update here once he makes his choice.
If you haven’t registered then make sure you sign up now. I’m giving stuff away with every episode of Chips ‘n Tips.
Every week a customer suggests we sell posters, postcards, calendars, stationary or sketchbooks that feature a piece of artwork or photograph from one of our Lost Art Press products.
It’s flattering, but we decline. During my tenure in publishing, I’ve studied this market and have concluded that this is how you make money on posters that do not feature kittens, human flesh or dumb motivational sayings.
- Select the most popular images from your publishing business; scale and clean the images so they will reproduce well on heavy coated paper stock.
- Find a press that can hold the line screen appropriate for a quality reproduction job.
- Purchase 2,000 posters so you can reduce the unit cost and charge less than $20 for the poster – a key price point.
- Sell 200.
- Warehouse the 1,800, running up a monthly fee to store them until your profit is gone and someone decides to pulp them.
- Sell a kidney.
Rather than lose another internal organ, let’s try this. Last night I made a high-resolution scan of one of the pages from this post on furniture styles. I scanned it at the maximum resolution we can handle, cleaned it up in Photoshop for about two hours and scaled it so it would print nicely at 18” x 24” – a common and inexpensive ($13) poster size at Staples.
You can download the high-resolution file here (it’s more than 50mb):
You have our permission to take it to a printer and have them make you a poster for your own use. If 50 people send me a photo of this poster on the wall of their shop, I’ll do another one for free. We lose less money this way.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Downloads
Have you ever considered entering the Texas Furniture Makers Show? Well, now is your opportunity! This is a great chance to get to know and meet other woodworkers and furniture makers. It is not limited to wood furniture but metal, stone, plastics, cardboard, grass–now that’s going a little far, but really it is up to […]
Earlier this year, the Popular Woodworking Magazine blog promoted several of the magazine’s spoon making resources. There is now a Facebook group of spoon makers and greenwood craftspeople that boasts nearly 5,500 members (myself included). And more recently, over at the Lost Art Press blog, Chris Schwarz has posted an old, one-page article from The Woodworker magazine, which is worth a look. (Chris also shares his own early, traumatizing experience with spoon making.) The article, which Chris says was probably written by Charles H. Hayward, is a brief look at the design of the hand-carved wooden spoon.
Hayward suggests that wooden spoons were developed in England in the 17th century, though we now know that they were used throughout Medieval England, and almost certainly earlier, though intact examples are difficult to come by.
For some reason, as soon as spoon making comes up, somebody will bring up Celtic “love spoons,” as Hayward does in this article. I’m not terribly interested in these artifacts, and I don’t quite see why they should be lumped together with functional wooden spoons. As far as I can see, they share only three similarities: they are made of the same material (wood); they are made using similar tools (carving knives); and they both have some sort of hollowed “bowl” attached to a oblong bit of wood. You might as well lump together cauldrons and church bells. As works of fine art, love spoons can be beautiful in their own right, but they are utterly useless and intentionally so. Real wooden spoons, on the other hand, are judged primarily by their usefulness. Their aesthetics are directly connected to their function. A good spoon both looks good and feels good in use.
Nevertheless, I’m pleased that wooden spoons are finally getting some publicity in the USA. I hope that will mean that we will soon see a wider range of spoon making tools becoming available, and that spoon making resources will continue to proliferate.
Yet, as G. K. Chesterton once said, “Fashions come and go, but mostly go.” Me, I’m going to keep making functional kitchen spoons as often as I can.
Tagged: Charles Hayward, love spoons, spoon making